(Picture: Macduff Everton, Corbis)
Luxury treehouse in Nice
oved by children the world over as a venue for adventurous play, treehouses combine a touch of Tarzan with a lumberjack feel high up amongst the branches. Yet not every tree-perched wooden hut requires parental supervision – some are incredibly grown up, such as a collection of cosy, cedar-wood treehouses between Cannes and Nice. Nestled amongst birds and squirrels, shielded by a mass of sprouting leaves, these most unusual tree-top retreats are big enough for adults and boast all the luxurious trappings of a fine hotel. You won’t need a harness or jungle rope to access the wooden baths or open massage showers that peer out over branches – just a head for heights. Owned by Diane Van den Berge, a Belgium national with an eco-green focus, the treehouses are anything but basic, offering a gorgeous cedarwood fragrance and high levels of comfort – not to mention Wi-Fi. After deciding that stone-built expansion would blight the landscape at her woodland plot, den Berge opted for a treehouse design for her B&B project. At five metres off the ground, the largest house is 40 sq metres with a scenic terrace. Each is named after characters from The Jungle Book with guests that range from weekending couples on a romantic getaway to stressedout urbanites keen to unwind. Located on the flank of a valley, on the edge of a protected woodland zone, the Orion B&B is blessed with breathtaking views across untamed forest and the village of Saint-Paul de Vence. Extraordinary peace prevails, free from urban noise or light pollution where secluded relaxation areas offer a choice of sun or shade amidst oaks, pines, olive and palms. With the sweet sounds of nature the only distraction, the Orion claims to foster not only wellbeing, but also, simply ‘being’ – and rightly so. A chlorine-free, pebble-bottomed swimming pool self-cleans and requires no chemicals due to a sophisticated natural system of gravel and aquatic plant filtration that emulates an Alpine lake. Despite being scattered with dragon flies and forest flora the water remains gin-clear and refreshingly cool.
ubrovnik’s astonishing, medieval fairytale beauty has captured the hearts of artisans for centuries, but exactly when its so-called Lovers’ Corner was created nobody rightly knows. Immortalised in the aged songs of the troubadours, Porporela is a fine old pier in the base of the fortress of St Ivan. Built to protect the harbour, this formidable breakwater is now synonymous with starlit romantic strolls and offers sheltered sanctuary to lovers seeking momentary refuge, a stolen kiss or romantic tryst. A path from the Old Town, dubbed the Lovers’ Walk by locals, snakes through this fair city of angel-white stone to Porporela where legends, steeped in salacious tales of seduction and sweet stories of young love, prevail. Porporela’s robust might helps to shield Dubrovnik old town from the ravages of the sea, as it juts into the deep, clear waters of the Adriatic. Now beautifully restored to its pre-war glory, Dubrovnik bears few scars from the conflict of the 1990s. Girdled by broad stone ramparts and neatly partitioned by the marble-paved central stradun (high street), Dubrovnik’s handsome harbourside boasts dozens of small family-run seafood restaurants and cosy bars tucked away from the main drag. Amidst the chattering of the street market and muted laughter from tiny upper-storey windows, Dubrovnik’s red-tiled roofs, white stone façades and green-blue sea have inspired the palettes of artists from all corners of the globe. The city’s expansive walls are made to be walked, reaching 6m in width and 25m in height and studded by towers, fortifications and bastions. Over 700 years of architecture is contained within these ramparts, from a 17th century Baroque church and preRomanesque spire to numerous fine structures from the Gothic and Renaissance eras. From here, Dubrovnik’s Lovers’ Walk winds down to the water, accompanied by a salty sea breeze infused with the fragrances of wisteria, oleander and cypress. A bell, horn or whistle denotes an arrival in a harbour scattered with sea-facing painters daubing at canvasses to a cacophony of screeching gulls. Embracing couples and lovers reunited enjoy spellbinding views out to Lokrum Island, framed by Dubrovnik’s vibrant coastal hues.
Orion B&B, Tel: 0033 6 75 45 18 64, www.orionbb.com Open from Easter until 30 December. Prices start from 180 Euros for two people including breakfast.
Dubrovnik Tourism Board Tel: 00 44 20 323 887 www.tzdubrovnik.hr
13/11/09 11:28:59 am